Plaquenil works to prevent and treat malaria by entering red blood cells (which are infected by the malaria bacteria), entering the bacteria, and interfering with the internal functions of the bacteria. Plaquenil probably works for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis by limiting the immune system reactions that cause these diseases.
Plaquenil is approved for preventing and treating malaria in children. It is not approved for other uses in children. Plaquenil comes only in adult-strength tablets, which taste extremely bitter when crushed or chewed. Your healthcare provider and pharmacist can work together to find a way for your child to receive the appropriate dose in a form that can be taken by a child. For instance, a pharmacist may crush the tablet, accurately measure the appropriate dose, and place the dose within a capsule. The capsule can then be opened and the contents mixed with something sweet such as applesauce, chocolate syrup, or jelly for each dose.
Children should not take Plaquenil for an extended period of time.
On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Plaquenil for something other than the conditions discussed in this article. Plaquenil is sometimes used off-label to treat a number of conditions, such as:
- Drug-induced lupus
- Sjogren's syndrome
- Lyme disease
- Porphyria cutanea tarda
- Polymorphous light eruptions